Creating is often a challenge at the best if times, but knowing how to create when things fall apart seems to be a skill that many of us need to learn, including me.
For the past few weeks my cat, Joe, has been very sick, not eating or drinking, and needing to be force fed every two to three hours. As he is only about three years old (he was a stray so difficult to know his age exactly) and the apple of my eye I have been giving most of my mental energy to him – the thought of losing him seemed unthinkable.
So the mental energy required to create a blog post was dissipated in worrying about his health and in anticipatory grieving.
And then I did lose him. During a not-supervised-enough supervised visit on the patio, Joe suddenly disappeared. A thorough search of my own and my neighbours’ yards did not reveal him, and when he had not returned afte 24 hours I believed he had gone away to die.
You would think this would have given me the time I needed to write, but actual grieving now took the place of anticipation. I felt that things truly had fallen apart, while hoping against hope that they hadn’t. A compulsion to search for him took over, so several times a day I would think of a new place he might be hiding, or would return to those I had already searched in case he had come back there.
The Cat Came Back
On the fourth day, when I had given up hope, he suddenly appeared on the patio. Physically he looked like Joe, but his energy was so depleted that he seemed like a different cat. I brought him in and laid him on the couch and he stayed in that spot all evening, barely breathing. I thought that he was dying, and after talking to two friends, one of who was an ex-veterinarian, I decided to let him die.
Next morning he looked like a different cat; his eyes were bright and although he was very weak he seemed more like himself. So I re-started the feedings and took him to the vet (the fourth one he had seen in that practice since he became ill.) She found a mass on his kidney which is probably cancer. He had an ultrasound and needle-biopsy yesterday, and the results should be back tomorrow.
The Cost Of Denial
So things are still falling apart, but it does not feel so bad now that I know what we are probably facing. I had avoided having an ultrasound earlier because of the cost, but it cost me more not to have it. First because the combined cost of all the other tests he had over the past month, tests he might not have needed with a definitive diagnosis, were double the cost of the ultrasound. Second because the cost of realising that he had probably something serious, but pretending that he hadn’t, zapped my energy.
Now I know what we are probably facing, I can deal with it. Not only did denial zap my energy, but it gave me no direction to act to resolve the problem. I now know how to create even though things are falling apart. With my denial gone I can centre myself enough to focus on creating. And writing is something that soothes me and helps me make sense of my world.
This post is more about me than about Joe, but for the record he is an incredibly laid back and friendly Maine Coon, who loves to talk . He is very aware – he is almost always waiting at the door when I arrive home, and if I wake in the night he is almost immediately up on my bed to have a chat, even if I have not stirred. He treats all feline visitors to the back yard as guests, and is definitely not a hunter. I have seen him sitting on the patio watching a spider crawl in front of him without doing anything to hurt it.
Things are falling apart for Joe too, but he still knows how to create admirers wherever he goes, because even when he is in pain or in a new situation, like having an ultrasound, he is still a perfect gentleman.